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Israel, US to fund laser that shoots down rockets
The Jerusalem Post ^ | 28 October 2003 | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Posted on 10/28/2003 11:38:50 AM PST by anotherview

Oct. 28, 2003
Israel, US to fund laser that shoots down rockets

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

Israel and the U.S. are to spend at least US$57 million for development of a laser cannon that can shoot down short-range missiles, an Israeli legislator and security officials said Tuesday.

A recent Israeli delegation successfully lobbied Congress to approve the new funding package for the joint U.S.-Israeli Nautilus laser weapon project, said Israeli lawmaker Yuval Steinitz, who was part of the delegation.

Israel wants the Nautilus to help protect its northern border towns from Katyusha rockets, fired by the Lebanese guerrilla group Hizbullah during Israel's 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon that ended in 2000.

Israel claims that Hizbullah now has 11,000 rockets aimed at Israel.

Congress approved US$57 million to fund the project, and Israel will also contribute funding, Steinitz said, but could not say how much.

There is, however, no public record of congressional approval for Nautilus funding.

It may fall under the classified portion of the 2004 Defense Authorization bill, passed by Congress and signed by U.S. President George W. Bush on Sept. 30.

The laser beam system was successfully tested at the U.S. White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, in February 1996. However, since then, development of the project had been held up by skeptics in the U.S. Congress, said an Israeli security official.

New funding is now needed to transform the technology into a practical weapon, said Steinitz, who is the chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee.

"Now we have to make it an efficient, compact weapon that can be used in the battlefield and in the war on terrorism," Steinitz said.

The Nautilus uses a high power radar to track and lock onto the incoming projectile. Then a Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL), which looks like a large spotlight, shoots out an intense beam that destroys the rocket.

The White Sands test marked the first time that a rocket has been destroyed in flight by a laser beam. The laser has also proved its ability to shoot down artillery shells.

Israeli security officials said that the potential to use this technology in the war against terrorism was a major factor in convincing Congress to renew support for the project.

"If the technology is developed, it will be applicable to many other military mechanisms," said Steinitz, "It could be a central mechanism in the future battlefield." Congress also approved a further $89 million for a second joint U.S.-Israeli project, the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system, which has already entered production, Steinitz said. The system is already operational.

Also Tuesday, the Maariv daily reported that a U.S.-Israeli company has developed a gun that can fire at right angles.

According to the report, the pistol, produced by the Florida-based Corner Shot Holdings, is being tested by the Israeli military and has already been bought by a number of Special Forces around the world.

A spokesman for the Israeli branch of the company refused to comment on the report.

Pictures of the weapon show a gun composed of two parts - the front, that can swivel from side to side, containing a pistol with a color camera mounted on top, and the back section which consists of the stock, trigger and a monitor.

The unique weapon allows the soldier to remain behind cover, with only the barrel of the rifle exposed in the direction of the hostile fire, even at a sharp angle.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Israel; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: hizbullah; israel; katyusharockets; lasercannon; lebanon; miltech; nautilus; steinitz; yuvalsteinitz
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1 posted on 10/28/2003 11:38:51 AM PST by anotherview
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: anotherview
Once again, Reagan is proven right and a couple decades ahead of his time. This would probably already be operational and fielded if not for eight years of a democrat administration (or twelve years if you count how squeamish Bush I was about pushing Star Wars research - at least that was my impression at the time).
3 posted on 10/28/2003 11:46:45 AM PST by katana
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To: katana
It's interesting ... like World War 2 left to some pretty signifcant tech innovations I think that the US, Japan and other nations like Israel may be on the cusp of leaping ahead by another generation.

The trick will be to stop the chinese from copying and stealing our work.

4 posted on 10/28/2003 11:49:44 AM PST by Centurion2000 (Virtue untested is innocence)
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To: anotherview
"The laser has also proved its ability to shoot down artillery shells."

Oh? That's impressive. What does it do, melt/vaporize them out of the sky? Yow.
5 posted on 10/28/2003 11:52:26 AM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: Frank_Discussion
It only has to make them explode.
6 posted on 10/28/2003 11:55:57 AM PST by Eala (FR Trad Anglican Directory: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican - Proud member VIOC)
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To: anotherview
If it can shoot down rockets, then it can probably shoot down planes.

Imagine the effectiveness of an air defense system that shoots down enemy planes by tracking them with a laser!??!!?

It would be wise to protect this technology from anyone who can be describde as "progresive". They are likely to give it to our enemies just to "level the playing field".
7 posted on 10/28/2003 11:56:24 AM PST by Constitutional Patriot (Socialism is the cancer of humanity.)
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To: Frank_Discussion
OTOH, that was pretty poorly worded...
8 posted on 10/28/2003 11:56:33 AM PST by Eala (FR Trad Anglican Directory: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican - Proud member VIOC)
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To: anotherview
It would seem to me to be cheaper to mirror the surfaces of the rockets.
9 posted on 10/28/2003 11:57:38 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
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To: Eala
But still impressive.
10 posted on 10/28/2003 12:02:12 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: JackRyanCIA
Sadly, no, I have no links. I read the article in The Jerusalem Post online edition, found it interesting, and posted it. I have not had time to do independent research.
11 posted on 10/28/2003 12:03:45 PM PST by anotherview ("Ignorance is the choice not to know" -Klaus Schulze)
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Israelis with friggen lasers

12 posted on 10/28/2003 12:06:49 PM PST by Michael Barnes
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To: Frank_Discussion
But still impressive.

Agreed. To put that much energy onto a rather small object, and keep it tracking for as long as needed... OTOH, I seem to recall they were playing with some pretty powerful chemical lasers back in the 80s.

13 posted on 10/28/2003 12:08:05 PM PST by Eala (FR Trad Anglican Directory: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican - Proud member VIOC)
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To: anotherview
http://www.de.afrl.af.mil/factsheets/abl.html


14 posted on 10/28/2003 12:10:28 PM PST by OXENinFLA
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To: Frank_Discussion
I recall hearing about this before but I forget the details. Perhaps the laser's energy triggers the explosive?
15 posted on 10/28/2003 12:11:34 PM PST by LenS
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To: Frank_Discussion
Tactical High Energy Laser / Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser
16 posted on 10/28/2003 12:14:18 PM PST by michigander
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To: Eala
"It only has to make them explode."

Or not explode.

17 posted on 10/28/2003 12:22:28 PM PST by elfman2
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To: Frank_Discussion
What does it do

It burns away part so the shell becomes aerodynamically unstable and tumbles

18 posted on 10/28/2003 12:25:26 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: RightWhale
The link in post #16 says it makes the shells explode in flight. The tumbling might be that violent, but I suspect not.
19 posted on 10/28/2003 12:27:00 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: anotherview
Does this mean the project to perfect X-Ray Specs is on the back burner?
20 posted on 10/28/2003 12:27:36 PM PST by Ribeye (.50 Action Express....Don't leave home without it.)
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To: michigander
Thanks, BTW!
21 posted on 10/28/2003 12:27:47 PM PST by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: anotherview
The Democrats have already studied this and found that it's impossible. Ditto the "scientific establishment."
22 posted on 10/28/2003 12:34:30 PM PST by cookcounty
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To: Frank_Discussion
It may act differently on different types of shells. High-tech shells might be easier to disrupt, gas shells are thinwalled and relatively easy to burn through. Shells with a contact fuse in the nose might be disabled by tumbling. Kinetic weapons might go off course and miss. From the lasers we used to experiment with, the beam is not needle-thin, but somewhat wide and disperses at a small angle as well. The laser then might heat the whole shell enough to weaken the steel and then the shell could come apart in flight, even explode midair but with less than optimal force.
23 posted on 10/28/2003 12:41:16 PM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: Frank_Discussion
You're welcome.
There's more info/links to info here.
24 posted on 10/28/2003 12:41:17 PM PST by michigander
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To: anotherview; archy; backhoe; Alamo-Girl
bump
25 posted on 10/28/2003 12:53:36 PM PST by Yehuda
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To: Yehuda
first successful test here

More data on funding and tech.

More tech info here.

26 posted on 10/28/2003 12:59:20 PM PST by Yehuda
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To: unix
Is it a rule now on FR that all laser posts must have Dr. Evil? Does this mean that all Hillary post should have this:


Patriot Paradox

27 posted on 10/28/2003 1:55:06 PM PST by sonsofliberty2000 (I am the armchair activist. Flamesuit ready, Dr. Pepper flowing. Able to post in a single click.)
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To: anotherview; Poohbah
Is it just me, or could it be that JDAMS will soon be yesterday's "miracle weapon"?
28 posted on 10/28/2003 2:32:26 PM PST by hchutch ("I don't see what the big deal is, I really don't." - Major Vic Deakins, USAF (ret.))
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To: hchutch
Imagine, if you will, a charismatic Islamic extremist imam spouting off about how the faithful must destroy America during the annual haj to Mecca.

And, suddenly, a bolt of green light lances downward from the heavens and cooks the imam right there on the spot. (Green chosen because it is the color of Islam.)

The folks gathered for the imam's harangue quickly pass the word: "Allah ain't happy with us, folks. Cool it with the jihad s**t."

29 posted on 10/28/2003 3:09:00 PM PST by Poohbah ("Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear weapons?" -- Major Vic Deakins, USAF)
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To: Frank_Discussion
What does it do, melt/vaporize them out of the sky? Yow.
It heats up the explosive inside the projectile case causing it to rupture.
30 posted on 10/28/2003 3:14:39 PM PST by wjcsux
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To: Yehuda; All
-Israel's Arrow Anti-Missile System and the THEL...--
31 posted on 10/28/2003 3:20:56 PM PST by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the trakball into the Sunset...)
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To: sonsofliberty2000
Heh-heh..."friggen lasers" was just begging for it..
32 posted on 10/28/2003 4:55:25 PM PST by Michael Barnes
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To: anotherview
Seems if this gets itself developed, it could be installed along the DMV, negating the threat of all those missles aimed at Souel (sp?)........ allowing us to nuke (or at least threaten to nuke) the heck out of the NK nuke sites without as much fear of losing a million people in South Korea. Iran too.

Hmmmmm

Imagine the uses for a bit of control over the 'rouge countries. Could be a nice thing to have.
33 posted on 10/28/2003 5:46:34 PM PST by bart99
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To: anotherview
and Israel will also contribute funding,

yeah, with the American tax dollars our elected give away.........
34 posted on 10/28/2003 5:51:10 PM PST by WhiteGuy (Constitutionally limited Government now!)
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To: Yehuda
Thanks for the heads up!
35 posted on 10/28/2003 7:18:55 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: backhoe; Alamo-Girl
wow, that is some compendium of links on the laser and missile.!
36 posted on 10/28/2003 8:33:02 PM PST by Yehuda
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To: Yehuda
Thanks for the heads up!
37 posted on 10/28/2003 8:43:03 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
Heh I am more interested in the Reaction that itself.
38 posted on 10/28/2003 10:16:40 PM PST by John Will
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To: Yehuda
Why, thank you! It's a bit dated, but still relevant.
39 posted on 10/29/2003 1:25:58 AM PST by backhoe (Just an old Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the trakball into the Sunset...)
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To: anotherview
September 16 2000: Laser Cannon Test: Two Rockets Down
A laser gun blasted a pair of rockets out of the sky Friday, in a first-ever dual shoot-down of incoming missiles

40 posted on 10/29/2003 4:43:45 AM PST by samtheman
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To: bart99
I'm sure Tiawan's defence forces are eyeing this thing, too. Everything I heard implies China's first stage of attack would involve missile barrages.

After the missiles are shot down they can point it at ChiCom ships crossing the strait.
41 posted on 10/29/2003 6:05:27 AM PST by Yak
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To: wjcsux
Most of the time, with Mid-Infrared wavelengths or shorter, the laser puts so much energy that even a metal body cannot dissapate the energy fast enough and the missile undergoes a phase change (i.e., it explodes as it changes from solid to gas immediately).
42 posted on 10/29/2003 8:09:37 AM PST by USAF_TSgt
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To: Carry_Okie
Mirrors only reflect visible and near-infrared radiation, they, like glass, do not reflect or transmit mid- to far-infrared radiation.
43 posted on 10/29/2003 8:11:01 AM PST by USAF_TSgt
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To: John Will
Indeed, the reaction ought to be interesting.
44 posted on 10/29/2003 8:12:27 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: USAF_SSgt
Is there a serviceable material that does not have an adsorption band for the incident MIRACL frequency?
45 posted on 10/29/2003 8:15:23 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
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To: USAF_SSgt
Is there a serviceable material that does not have an adsorption band for the incident MIRACL frequency?

I know there has to be one because otherwise one couldn't make a laser. I just don't know if it, or an equivalent, is adaptable to coating a rocket body.

46 posted on 10/29/2003 8:18:47 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
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To: Carry_Okie
Ahhh, the problem is keeping it (whatever material that reflects the mid-infrared) from melting from the friction as it moves through the thick lower atmosphere. Also, once you get into mid-infrared (starting at around 2.5 microns up to about 8 microns), the nature of materials changes from reflective to emissive. Most objects, especially moderately warm ones, no longer reflect energy, but emit it as well. The mid-infrared laser adds to this energy, basically adding gasoline to a fire.
47 posted on 10/29/2003 8:29:31 AM PST by USAF_TSgt
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To: USAF_SSgt
I would think that there were some ceramic coatings that might not have too much of a problem with that, or would perhaps sluff. Then there is the idea of a gas envelope of adsorptive material that would hold the heat behind the rocket. How long would it have to evade being fried before it got to its target, given that aquistion, tracking, targeting and firing, especially on multiple incoming targets, all take time?
48 posted on 10/29/2003 9:03:57 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
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To: Carry_Okie
Sorry about the delay in replying, it's been quiet a busy last few days. Your last question is very valid, as the Army (both the US and Israeli) have found out with the Patriot/PAC-III (US) and the Arrow II (Israeli) anti-ballistic missile systems. It seems that in a non-war environment (such as a first-strike or random, small, terrorist attacks), the authority to fire/engage targets must be approved at a fairly high level (two- or three-star level for US military, case-in-point is the CAOC in UAE and Saudi Arabia). The military, and the civilians who control the military, must decide who will approve launching these missiles (for PAC-III and Arrow II) or firing these lasers (in the case of this article). The technology for tracking, targeting, and firing against multiple incoming targets is already available, and employed in a lot of systems (all modern jets, PAC-III, Arrow II, and others). Acquistion shouldn't be a problem because almost all missles used would have to get fairly high (unless it's a cruise missile that skims the surface) to get enough range on the reentry/return side of a ballistic path. As for the ceramic coatings, the problem is the more weight you add for fairly heavy coatings is less weight for warhead and guidance systems, and smaller ranges. You raise good questions, and a lot of this must be worked out before these systems get operationally deployed (especially in the US).
49 posted on 11/03/2003 10:34:07 AM PST by USAF_TSgt
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To: USAF_SSgt
You raise good questions, and a lot of this must be worked out before these systems get operationally deployed (especially in the US).

I guess you can tell, I was once peripherally involved in the business (I worked at Avantek). I knew about the multiple targeting capability, but IIRC the numbers were ten to fifteen simultaneous targets. One wonders about the ability of the radar to distingush hundreds of simultaneous targets with decent depth of field.

To me those were obvious questions before plunking down the money for a pricey system that will itself be a prime target for terrorist ground attack. One has to ask whether going the route of an expensive and supposedly capable defense is worth the risk compared to the demonstrated willingness to use massive retaliation, ESPECIALLY when it's so easy to smuggle weapons into the US inside cargo containers. My thinking is that we should be concentrating on that problem instead.

I am reminded that somehow Andrews AFB couldn't get a couple of guys with a Stinger deployed in time to stop an incoming passenger jet with over an hour of warning between the time of the first highjacking and the time of the hit on the Pentagon. After spending trillions on defense, that one still burns me.

50 posted on 11/03/2003 11:20:32 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to manage by politics.)
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